phone mail2 facebook twitter play whatsapp
An Interview with Martin Freeman

An Interview with Martin Freeman

23 August 2017

From an office block in Slough to the moors of Middle-earth, Martin Freeman’s career has ranged far and wide – and now he returns to the stage with a lead role in James Graham’s Labour of Love, which runs for 11 weeks only at the Noel Coward Theatre from September 15th.

For a life-long Labour supporter like Martin Freeman, the opportunity to star in James Graham’s newest political play combines two of the Hampshire-born actor’s greatest passions. Labour of Love sees Freeman’s modern politician butting heads with Sarah Lancashire’s traditional Labourite in the party’s traditional heartlands.
 
It’s been described as “a clash of philosophy, culture and class against the backdrop of the Labour Party over 25 years as it moves from Kinnock through Blair into Corbyn” and it represents, for Freeman at least, another measured decision in a career that has moved from stage to screen and back again.
 
“You can never predict how audiences will respond to your work and there’s always a certain amount of trepidation that comes with that,” the 45-year-old explains. “Of course, it would be wonderful if people liked the work I did, but ultimately I have to be satisfied and pleased with the work I’ve done. That’s my perspective on every role I play and no matter what critics or audiences might think, I have to live with my own judgement. From an acting perspective, you have to rely on your own instincts.
 
“I have never been driven by anything more than a desire to look for good roles and not choose parts on the basis of money or commercial considerations. I’ve always followed my instincts when it comes to looking for a good script where I think I can bring something distinct and unique to a role.”
 
The latest in a long line of political projects from in-demand Graham, Labour of Love will run from 15th September for 11 weeks at the Noel Coward Theatre. For Freeman, it’s the first time he will have set foot on stage since he took the title role in Shakespeare’s Richard III in 2014. In the intervening years, Freeman – who first made his breakthrough as part of hit mockumentary The Office – has enjoyed a run of form in Hollywood, with appearances in The Hobbit Trilogy and Captain America: Civil War.
 
In spite of these big-budget appearances, the characteristically reserved star has lost none of the ‘everyman’ demeanour that made him such a delight to watch in Ricky Gervais’ cult classic.
 
“Fame can be slightly disturbing, I suppose, but I don’t live a very outlandish life and so there aren’t that many occasions where I’m out in the public eye going to film events or parties or things of that nature,” he admits. “I don’t have any illusions about who I am or that I’m suddenly a big star or my life has greater meaning simply because I’ve been part of some very big films.”
 
That’s not to say, of course, that Freeman is dismissive of his 20-year career in the industry. But with those cinematic credentials already firmly locked down, as an upcoming role in Marvel’s Black Panther film can attest, Freeman is entering a stage of his career where he is able to be more selective about the projects he lends his talents to.
 
“I don’t worry about work,” he smiles. “And that’s partly because I’ve been lucky and I’ve always worked. I left drama school early to work, and I’ve never really stopped working. It’s easy for me to say, in a way, but I enjoy work, and even when it’s driving me mad I’d still rather be doing that than anything else. Of course, there are times when I get insecure about it. You don’t want to disappoint anyone and naturally you set as high a bar for yourself as you can and see where that takes you.
 
“At the end of the day, my interest in acting stems from my passion and joy for the work. I never imagined that I would have so many great opportunities and so everything that comes my way is one more step along the way. I’m not looking for any kind of glory other than some measure of appreciation from audiences. I hope people enjoy my work and I try to give it my all.”

Martin Freeman and Sarah Lancashire star in James Graham's Labour of Love at the Noël Coward Theatre from 27 September - 2 December. Tickets from £10.

Tell us what you think

You may also like

This week 20 – 26 November

This week 20 – 26 November

At this time of year, you have to decide, is the Christmas music coming on or not yet? If you aren’t ready to start the festivities…

The Lost Boy Peter Pan

The Lost Boy Peter Pan

A fresh look at the story of Peter Pan, this magical musical adaptation is the perfect alternative to pantomime.

Contractions at ND2 (New Diorama Theatre)

Contractions at ND2 (New Diorama Theatre)

A chilling piece of theatre about the boundaries between work and play.

This Week 13-19 November

This Week 13-19 November

Dancing, ceramics and leaves: what have these all got in common? They are all in our round-up of the best weird and wonderful things to…

An interview with Steen Raskopoulos

An interview with Steen Raskopoulos

Australian actor, performer and improviser, Steen Raskopoulos, has been working in comedy for the last few years on stage and on screen. London Calling…

‘I think I’m on the right track’: An interview with Rebecca Callard

‘I think I’m on the right track’: An interview with Rebecca Callard

Rebecca Callard started acting as a child, and has appeared on radio, television and the stage. She talks to London Calling about her first play,…

This week October 30 - November 5

This week October 30 - November 5

As we move into those colder months, we’ve found plenty of stuff to keep you inspired. The Royal Festival Hall are showing over 150 photographs from…

The Best Theatre in London this November

The Best Theatre in London this November

As winter beckons outside, November is an ideal time to cosy down in the theatre. The penultimate month of 2017 sees some fantastic shows opening…

An interview with Alice Bailey Johnson

An interview with Alice Bailey Johnson

In Insignificance, four American icons take the stage to discuss mathematics, identity and love. Alice Bailey Johnson, daughter of playwright Terry Johnson, stars at Marilyn…

A Christmas Celebration with Sir Tony Robinson

A Christmas Celebration with Sir Tony Robinson

Capture the spirit of Christmas in a traditional concert of seasonal classics and glorious carols.

Most popular

Win a Year’s Subscription!

Stack Magazines - Win a Year’s Subscription!

Are you a fan of getting great magazines in the post? We are giving one lucky winner a year’s subscription to Stack Magazines
Win a family ticket to The Greenwich Winter Time Festival

Win a family ticket to The Greenwich Winter Time Festival

We're giving away the chance to attend this fabulous Christmas treat
Win Tickets to a Night of Circus and Cabaret

La Soirée - Win Tickets to a Night of Circus and Cabaret

A unique and inspirational night of live entertainment - La Soirée is now at the West End!
Win a Pair of Tickets to Monochrome

The National Gallery - Win a Pair of Tickets to Monochrome

Discover more than 50 monochrome masterpieces from the likes of Rembrandt, Ingres, Richter and Picasso.
Win a 3 Course Meal for 6 with Wine!

Camden Dining - Win a 3 Course Meal for 6 with Wine!

The nights are drawing in, there’s a chill in the air & Christmas is on the way… Celebrate the festive season with Camden Dining
Win Tickets to A Christmas Carol

The Fitzrovia Radio Hour - Win Tickets to A Christmas Carol

Your chance to win tickets to a unique alternative festive entertainment!
Win Two Tickets to a Festive Film Screening!

Pop Up Screens - Win Two Tickets to a Festive Film Screening!

From Home Alone and Love Actually to Frozen and The Nightmare Before Christmas, catch your favourite festive films this December
Win Two Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong - Win Two Tickets

We've got tickets to give away to a Sunday performance of the beloved Olivier Award winning play!
Win 2 tickets to the Candelit Christmas Concert

The Children's Trust - Win 2 tickets to the Candelit Christmas Concert

The Children's Trust are hosting a special Christmas concert in Holy Trinity Sloane Square
Win a Luxury Wine Tasting for Two!

Wine Cottage - Win a Luxury Wine Tasting for Two!

We're giving away a luxury wine, cheese, fruit and chocolate tasting evening for two people.

Your inbox deserves a little culture!!